Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Be Happy: Getting Back to Me
Part 1: Back to You (My Journey Back to Natural Hair)- Toya

Yup. It's going down. Big Hair Toya, as I used to affectionately be referred to, is making a comeback in 2010 and I will be happy to see her. I came to this decision after a much needed "staycation" this past weekend. A staycation is when you take a vacation at home. Anyone remember on The Cosby Show when Cliff took a vacation at home complete with a Hawaiian lay, coconut drink and ukulele? Yeah, like that.

I knew I needed a break when Tia left me with one parting question during her last visit. I was leaving for work and had just got finished telling her about all of the things that I had on my plate. "Well, let me ask you something. What do you do for yourself?" See I had gotten busy work confused with me time because everything I was busy doing for others are things I love doing. They weren't some big sacrifice. I welcome the connections and industry experience. Yet that question rang with me for days. All I could come up with was sleep! That was the only thing I did that I was doing by myself and for myself. So when my sleep got jacked up (falling asleep sitting up in the middle of an email was a hint) I knew I needed to do something and fast.

Last Friday I was sitting in my car after going through yet another drive through about to call Casme's manager to ask him about what time I needed to be on set for her video shoot for her new single "Call Me Whatever" (which I love by the way. Check it out.) As I was going through my schedule in my mind, I realized that it would be three whole weeks before I was able to come home straight from work with no responsibilities. Three weeks? I'm in my mid-thirties now so I have a pretty good grip on who I am. Three weeks of no time to myself is going to cause me to start talking to people really crazy. I needed to make the right decision for myself and cancel. I called her manager and explained why I wouldn't be on set and he completely understood. "Hey I am taking a vacation next week myself. No calls no nothing. Do what you gotta do. My grandaddy always said to pay yourself first and to take care of yourself first. Do you." Feeling slightly guilty, I headed home and went straight to bed before it even hit 7 o'clock.

The next day was absolutely beautiful as it rained all day long. Rain is my favorite music. I'll take it over anything. I once heard Kirk Whalum say that God was a jazz musician and I wholeheartedly agree. I will turn off everything in the room just to sit and hear the rain and I did. I just sat by the window and listened. Every time a thought came into my head I pushed it away. Sometimes you need to not even think. Not even pray. Just sit. Eventually I fell back to sleep.

I woke up around 5 pm, turned on The Princess and the Frog which I still had not seen (I bought it for my goddaughter though so I did support) and sat down to FINALLY do my vision board from Oprah.com. I had been promising to do this for months! I sat and I sat for a while not sure what pictures to add to it. Suddenly this thought came to me: I didn't know what to dream about because I wasn't really happy with who I had become. I was just going through the motions with busy work. I had lost myself. I stopped doing the simple things that made me happy. There were no simple things. "I need to get back to myself" I thought. I used to be way happier than this. And as with any life change that has ever occurred in my life, the first thing I wanted to change was my hair. I quickly sent the following text message to my hair stylist: "Toya is not to cut any part of her hair aside from her bangs as she will be growing her hair out this summer to return back to her natural hair. Please save this message and slap her if she says otherwise." I just want to be me. All the time. Not a more sophisticated me with a slick hair cut and four different types of eyeshadow on. Just me. I found a pick of a girl with big curly hair and put it in the corner. After that, the ideas just kept coming and coming. When I finished my dream board, I noticed that these weren't big dreams that I couldn't attain. They were things that I always wanted to be and can be if I simply take care of me first.

I think of my vision board all of the time now. When I don't feel like drinking more water, I think about the picture of water bottles on my vision board. When I think of overspending, I think of my "debt free" sign on there too. Sometimes you need to just see what you want to be. Speaking of which, I also have a picture of a couple whose relationship that I really admire. Keeping a picture of what you want constantly in front of you can keep you from settling for anything from the wrong man to a cupcake.

So when the back of my hair is in that weird in between stage where I always give up and cut it off, I will think of the girl with curly hair on my vision board and remember that this is all a process. I made a promise to myself to do what makes me happy. Sometimes that's not instant but it's possible and worth it.

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